Hitman 2 and its spectre of Mumbai: A lost city in translation – Samya Brata Roy

Abstract:

Hitman 2’s Mumbai mission, just like the film Extraction, looks at the oriental space in a similar ‘diseased’ yellow filter which is akin to the Mexico of Breaking Bad. Here, we have the perfect orientalist reduction of a culture. By digitising Mumbai and creating it into a gamic world, it produces a rather lazily translated and racialised appropriation of this particular South Asian space. The essential orientalist gaze thus reinforces the binary between the ‘I’ and the ‘other’: where the ‘I’ is the foreign Agent 47 and the ‘other’ are the yellow dwellers of Mumbai. The NPCs react to Agent 47 in awe as if a white man is a miracle of nature which they have never seen before. Not only that, but they also interact with themselves in a very essentialist way. The tea shops/kiosks are literally written as ‘Chaye Dukan’ (which is a direct translation for ‘Tea Shop’). Not only does this point at a lack of research but also a lazy design. No matter how inferior a place is, no one names their establishment in a direct translation to their colonial/capitalist overlords. It becomes nothing but a city ‘lost in translation’. In this paper, I will read the Mumbai mission of Hitman 2 as a cultural artefact where the game scape becomes a techno-orientalist commodity. Like any other Literary text which fetishizes the ‘other’, Hitman 2 also becomes such a ‘digital/ludic’ text which manages to define the ‘Indian’ in its own myopic way. The discourse propagated thus reinforces the idea of ‘India’ or the ‘Orient’ as the literal plaything of the West. Thus, I will expand by elaborating on how the creators become a part of the greater orientalized theatricality by indulging in a form of ‘identity tourism’ (Nakamura ’96), where the autonomy of creating a cultural space takes the form of an essentialist fetish.

About Samya :

Samya Brata Roy (He/Him) is currently in the final semester of his M.A in English Literature from The English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad. Mainly his interests lie in and around the modalities of Digital Narratives, which he also tries to create at thepenarchist (wordpress.com). He is associated as a SIG facilitator with DHARTI (dhdharti.in), as a transcriber with The Canterbury Tales Project and as database contributor with Electronic Literature Knowledge Base | ELMCIP. He works in the field of Disability Studies by assisting in research. He is also passionate about teaching and inclusion and pursued it by teaching slum kids.

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